ArmInfo. 2016 was marked with development of Armenian cheese makers, Chairman of Cheese Makers of Armenia Armen Gigoyan stated at the press conference today.
According to him development was possible due to sharp growth of export of cheese products to Russia. According to forecast, this year the export to Russia will total 4 thousand tons versus 1500 tons a year before. But as the Chairman of the Union stated this growth was ensured not so much by Armenia's membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (as the tax and customs payments remained the same as before entering) but by sanctions imposed on Russia by Western states.
At the same time according to the expert no growth was registered on the domestic market, which is first and foremost caused by devaluation of Russian ruble and drop of buying capacity of population. 19 thousand tons were produced , only 15 thousand of which were sold on the domestic market. Moreover, 3% decline of domestic consumption was registered. However, the losses were compensated with the growth of export. To note, there are around 100 entities producing cheese in Armenia, most of them are small businesses, while only 5-6 companies export their product.
Gigoyan also stressed that 18 types of cheese are produced in Armenia but only two of them-Lori and Chanakh are known to consumers. In 2016 several plants introduced technologies of producing European cheese , the most difficult of which is production of Roquefort cheese. According to him, next year work will be continued on production of European cheese, which are very popular on the Russian market. One of the problems of the field according to the expert is the cost of powdered milk. Its price on the world market was $630 for 1 ton several years ago while today it grew to $2300.
Another problem is availability of financial sources. The expert expressed hope that a number of projects will be financed via loan funds from the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The expert noted with regret that the ''Armenian Cheese'' program developed during Tigran Sargsyan's premiership failed. He mentioned that the cheese makers were very excited when it was launched, however the government did not provided sufficient financing for the project and it was frozen. If the program were implemented our positions on the market would be much stronger today, Gigoyan noted.